[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[ih] The Atlantic on Email

On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 1:35 PM, Brian E Carpenter
<brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 12/01/2016 04:52, John Day wrote:
>> Agree with Noel, it was widely used within the ARPANET . . . almost immediately as I remember.
> Not to mention the uucp world, and email over rscs became very big between IBM mainframes
> in academia. So the meme spread well before there was a real Internet.
>     Brian
>> You have to wonder about a historian who can?t interpret the historical record in context.

Sorry to have just noticed this thread...

The article is fairly badly damaged in other ways.  For example, it
suggests that people tried "!" and "%" instead of the "@", implying
that both were used in Internet mail.  Of course, "!" was used in uucp
routing "bang paths" (not on the Internet except as the
pseudo-local-part associated with a gateway) and, at least AFAIK, "%"
was used in local-part routing, always in conjunction with "@".  Once
it took off, "@" was fairly universally used: the exceptions were
Multics (and possibly a few other systems) where the symbol turned out
to be used as a line-kill character and on some systems where "@" was
hard or impossible to type (e.g., early version of ISO 646 defined
x'45', which is "@" in ASCII as a national-use character position.
On those systems, "@" was spelled "at" or "-at", oddly anticipating
some of today's attempts to keep address harvesting mechanism from
spotting email addresses.

Beyond that, depending on how "real Internet" is defined, it was
fairly well deployed before BITNET/NETNORTH/EARN really got going.

The other strangeness of the discussion is that, if my memory is
correct, inter-machine email predates ARPANET/Internet email.  The
example I'm thinking of wasn't very fast because the transport
mechanism involved mag tape over sneakernet, but it was inter-machine,
demonstrating that one needs to be very careful about what is being
claimed.  What I don't remember was whether there was a way to
designate the other machine or whether that was just deduced from
accounting information.  Tom Van Vleck would presumably remember if
anyone thinks it is important.